I flew to India in the beginning of February 2019. I had a long flight all the way from Australia with a long layover in Kuala Lumpur. My friend from Australia joined me for the trip to India which was awesome! I felt so much more secure having someone with me.
We arrived in the north of India, in New Delhi, around midnight and caught a taxi to the hotel that we booked close to the main metro station. The taxi driver couldn’t figure out where the hotel is and also couldn’t read a map so we had to tell him where to go but mostly he went somewhere else so it took a while to arrive at the hotel. We fell asleep immediately which was great because the room was just super dirty and fortunately we were too tired to be bothered. It was freezing cold in the room and there was no heater. It was winter at this time of the year and temperatures were mostly around 7 degrees at night and 15 degrees during the day which was okay but as soon at it got dark it was freezing cold & the same in the mornings.
We had a train booked the next day at 6 am so we woke up early and walked to the metro station. It was super hectic and busy and people were staring at me even tough I had everything covered.
Luckily we found our train immediately and it was such a great train. We had big comfortable seats with a table and got tea and cookies and breakfast and lunch in our 6 hour train ride. It was pretty luxurious.
In the afternoon we arrived at the train station in Haridwar from where we had to take an one hour tuk-tuk ride to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world.
It is a lovely town on the footsteps of the Himalayas and the holy Ganges river flows through town and there is one yoga school after the other. Rishikesh is a very long town and it feels more like a small city. There is a touristic area where all the fancy hipster shops and vegan bakeries are and if you go away from that area it is pretty local everywhere else. Our first two days in Rishikesh we had a hotel right on the riverfront in a non-touristic place. It was fantastic there and we could walk around and get to know the culture and learn how much everything should cost. We bought scarves and warmer clothes immediately as it was pretty cold in the mornings and nights. We walked a lot and ate so much different street food (fried samosas, sweets, chapati, dhal, chana masala, etc.)
I love to try many dishes, especially eating at the local restaurants. My friend Rob removed the stitches in my leg on the day where my 200 hour yoga teacher training started. I had a surf-accident before coming to India and had a hole in my leg where I got the stitches. The wound healed pretty good and didn’t get infected.
The yoga school that I booked was relatively new, only 1,5 years old and was pretty much the only yoga school here in Rishikesh that was away from the touristic area. It was directly next to the river too and in a very quiet non touristic area. I was so happy that I booked that school without even knowing that it is the only school away from the centre.
We were a small group of 9 people who did the 200 hour yoga teacher training. Half of the group was from America but some of us where from Europe too.
I got a double rooms which I shared my room with a Danish girl who was super fun and great to be around. We even had our own balcony on the riverside.
Everyone came for different reasons but most of the people didn’t have much experience with yoga so not everyone was here just to get the certificate.
Our timetable was pretty full on. We started at 7 am with 2 hours of Astanga Yoga classes, then we had another hour where we did either Aerial yoga or Iyengar yoga and after that we finally got breakfast around 10:30 am. I was so hungry by then. Our breakfast was either Parathas or Poha or some porridge looking food.
Then we continued our day with Anatomy and yoga philosophy lessons. Lunch and dinner was mostly the same: Chapati, Rice, Dhal and potato curry. We mostly had time off from 2:30-4 pm so we could use that time to study and read our yoga-books. From 4-5:30 pm we had our Hatha Yoga class and after that we had dinner and freetime.
We mostly fell asleep around 9 pm as days were really tiring and exhausting. We definitely where not used to do so much yoga per day and I had muscle-pain pretty much all the time.
The first week past by really slow but after the first week we all got into a routine and the whole course past by so quickly and I couldn’t believe how much we were able to learn in just one month. We learned so many cleansing techniques too from which I haven’t heard before and also tried some of them which was interesting. Once we tried a technique where we had to drink 6 glasses of warm saltwater and after that we had to vomit everything out again in order to clean our abdominals and it should be good for the digestion. It was definitely a weird feeling to vomit in front of everybody.
In our last week we all had to teach 3 different yoga-lesson. One Astanga class, one aerial class and one Hatha Yoga class. Astanga yoga Is very intense and has a strict series of postures so there is not much room for improvisation but I liked it and it was definitely fun to teach. Aerial was more chill as it is the yoga with the hammocks and I could do some nice gentle stretches and use it as a TRX to workout the abs.
Hatha yoga was very nice too and I made a slow but intense warmup for the whole body and everyone enjoyed it a lot. The tests in Philosophy and Anatomy were easy too as I remembered everything from the course and always repeated what we learned in the evenings so that I feel confident for the test.
On our last day we all had a fire ceremony before we got our certificates and the ceremony took very long and was definitely interesting to participate as I never saw something like that before. So much ancient wisdom and culture here in North-india.
I felt so grateful to have done this course and feel confident to teach yoga now to friends and family and to everyone who wants to learn more about yoga. It was a hard and challenging month for me as I am such a lover of freedom and the warm climate and during my whole stay it was so cold all the time and we had such a strict timetable so I could not just leave and do my own thing.
That was something I was not used to anymore! I was so happy on our last day of the course as the weather improved and the sun was shining. I spend a few hours sitting in a german bakery eating apple-strudel and vegan chocolate brownie and just enjoy a change of food after eating the same food all the time.
My last two days in Rishikesh I went to a couch surfing host who works as a doctor at the hospital here and it was so nice to stay with him. He is such a kind person taught me how to cook delicious Indian food. We cooked Poha for breakfast which is one of my favorite Indian dishes as it is made with peanuts 😀
The international yoga festival was on for a week after the yoga course finished and it was super busy in Rishikesh. I booked a nightbus back to the city in Delhi two days after the end of the course for 800 rupees on a sleeper-bus.
I spend a few hours before my bus left in the German bakery and ate vegan chocolate brownies and a cake and just enjoyed to eat whatever I want after eating so much lentils and dhal for a month. I met up with Nina, my roommate in the yoga course before I left for my overnight bus trip back to the chaotic city Delhi where i met my friend Rob again to continue our trip to Nepal for some hiking in the Himalayas.